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March 17th, 2008
09:28 AM ET

Jason Rae: A Superdelegate's view on Florida and Michigan

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What should we as members of the DNC do about Florida and Michigan? This is a question I have been getting asked a lot recently and for good reason. Florida and Michigan are two very important states, especially in terms of the electoral college in November. So people want to know the answer to the elusive question: will their delegates be seated at the convention?
I’ll lay it out there for everyone: as of right now, if they do not do a revote, I intend to support not seating their delegations in Denver. While this is rather harsh, I think that to show some semblance of order, we cannot change rules mid-stream. I have nothing against the people of either state. In fact, I really like both a lot and I love the state leaders there. However, they broke the DNC rules. They had 30 days to change their dates before being sanctioned. They did not change the dates to be in compliance with DNC rules. As such, we shouldn’t be seating them in Denver. If we allow one state to break the rules this time, we are just opening the flood gates to allow other states to do the same thing in 2012 and beyond.

Now, with that being said, I am completely open to them disregarding the results of the non-compliant events and holding a re-vote. While state parties are still working out details, I think it should be a goal to have a plan in place by the middle of this week on how we intend to include Florida and Michigan in the process. I welcome their plans and hope we are able to find away to involve these two important states in the Democratic National Convention.

– Jason Rae, Democratic Superdelegate


Filed under: Jason Rae • Raw Politics
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. John

    Jason, one more thing. As you say, most would agree that having a redo in both states would solve the problem. However, in Florida, the same Republican bill that changed the primary date here mandated that all Counties switch to OCR counting machines. The simple truth of the current situation is that there are about 15 Counties that are in the process of changing machines and currently have none, Additionally, they will not have machines in place prior to June 10th. So, we are back to square one. Either recognize that Florida's vote was legitimate in the eyes of the voters or risk disenfranchising more of them like myself if the DNC doesn't realize they are unfairly punishing the voters and not those who made this decision. Let me further remind you that there was major,groundbreaking tax reform on the ballot Jan 29 in Florida that effected nearly every voter in Florida. So, noone stayed home just because they actually believed the DNC would stick to their overbearing and unfair punishment of the voters. Now you have the right to vote for me,Jason. The DNC stripped me of that right. You are my last hope that my voice will be heard. The DNC obviously doesn't care about us voters. Maybe you will.

    March 18, 2008 at 9:03 am |
  2. Laurie

    The DNC must allow the delegates to be seated because we need an honest, forthright, wise and far thinking person in the White House. This country would be well served to elect Hillary Clinton President. If the delegates are not seated, we could have a McCain-Obama contest. McCain would win, easily, in that event. Hillary would easily win over McCain. Further, Obama has lied, manipulated and deceived us. Do you really believe after 20 years he never heard Rev. Wright’s racist values and sermons? Did he never hear from or discuss this with Rev. Wright, whom he proclaims is his friend, mentor and advisor? If he does not believe in those racist values, then why did he continue to be an active member of TUCC? Why was Rev. Wright a part of his campaign? If he does not see that those racist values hold black people down and create conflict in our country, then where has he been? Who is Obama and what does he really believe? This baggage makes him unelectable, and beyond that, do you really want another lying, manipulative man in the White House? If Obama was an honorable man with any integrity, he would end his presidential campaign now. I call for his immediate withdrawal from the presidential campaign.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:29 am |
  3. Bonobo

    John,
    You basically are correct, but you left out one significant point. It was a Democrate that proposed the bill to move the date and was co-sponsored by a Republican.

    I'm a Floridian also, and to the point you make about the vote being held one week prior to Super Tuesday; well, the FDP could have accepted the compromise to move back to Super Tuesday and all would have been well. What was so important about holding the primary one week prior?

    As you have stated, there was a record turnout, but it was more about the Property-Tax Reform Amendment. A lot of DEM non-property owners I know didn't bother to vote; knowing the presidential primary aspect of the ballot was void and they were not going to be affected by the outcome of the Tax Amendment. Everyone knew going in what the deal was.

    March 18, 2008 at 3:58 am |
  4. Thelma Jones

    I have not read all the comments posted so far on this issue, but I am glad about the first 3 or 4 comments. Rules are rules. What I do not understand is Hillary Clinton's action here.

    It is my view that she (Hillary) is the cause of the problems about the current fiasco involving Florida and Michigan. Clinton as a lawyer should learn to obey Party laws. Why is she arguing that the illegal votes should count? This is her second show of lack of judgement (teh first was voting for the Iraq war)

    I am a woman and (white) but I cannot vote for Hillary because she is too entrenched into controversies and lack of judgement. If she cannot uphold the law, how else can we trust her to obey the American constitution – how else will she avoid lack of jugdement such as was demonstrated by Bush in embarking on the "Domestic Spying Program"?

    March 18, 2008 at 2:46 am |
  5. karen

    Am I wrong in understanding that the republician party told the democratic party that if they wanted a paper trail (re- voting )that they would have to move up their voting to Jan 29th.and if this is true its just more of the republicians way of screwing up the voting in florida again.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  6. Micahel Guinn Ventura,CA

    This young man is correct-and I might add much more mature than some of the folks ranting and raving.
    The fault does NOT lie with the Obama campaign! The Clinton, Edwards, Beiden, Dodd,etc campaigns ALL AGREED to the rules.
    The fault lies in the STATES where the rules were broken.
    Gov. Dean is not to blame. The Democratic Party is not to blame for this.
    The Clintonites would have us believe that they are champions of Florida and Michigan--That they care about disenfranchisement.
    THEY CARE ABOUT WINNING AT ANY COST.
    Their supporters who threaten to "boicott" the party or "vote for Mccaing because Barak H Osama is a lier" need to learn the facts-and how to SPELL.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  7. Michelle

    Is it true that if these two states do a re-vote they get an additional amount of delegates because they are voting at the rear of the promary caucus season? If that were true (and it may not be) it would be a great strategy to get your state to break the rules and then weasel back in at the end to give the candidate of your choice the tipping points. Hmmm? I wonder which candidate would think that little strategy up. Didn't this kind of thing happen during one of Bill Clinton's bids for the Whitehouse.

    March 18, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  8. TS

    By the way Anderson; CNN is obviously Obama supporter. You are the only one who even apears somewhat fair.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  9. TS

    It should not be about if Hillary or Obama had one florida or michigan. simply you cant have a real and valued election without counting those states. To think that this won't tear the dems apart is wrong and the DNC may have cost their party the election by doing this.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Esteban, Daly City, CA

    Finally the mask is off...Howard Dean and the legislators in Washington in some many words have confirmed what a lot of people knew all along that the democratic race to elect a nominee was rigged from the beginning. Now they are saying that the only way they will seat those delegates at the convention until they are certain that those delegates will not affect Obama's nomination. What king of a decision is that? Is that their idea of a fair and impartial decision? What a joke!

    Ladies and gentlemen, the DNC and Howard Dean have betrayed us in the worse possible way.

    If you are as disgusted as I am with the DNC, I invite you to boicott the party in November and simply vote for another candidate. Personally I am withdrawing my affiliation to the Democratic Party pernanently.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  11. Cathy

    Lets just give them all to Obama, cause thats what your doing if there is no revote, we all know Clinton would win Florida for sure, just give it to OB just like the media has and say hello President McCain. As usual the Dems just mess up. I'm fed up! Will vote for McCain, just hope he gets a good VP.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm |
  12. Jane

    As a Florida voter I agree we can not seat the delegates under the present rules. But what is not widely reported is that we have a Republican Legislature & Governor who set the date for the Florida Primary; breaking their own parties rules in the process. However, their party chose to punish the Florida voters by only seating half of the delegates earned for each candidate. This will now be the 3rd presidential election the DNC has allowed the Fl voter to be disenfranchised. How can we as Americans really believe that the vote of the sons & daughters of Fl. fighting for democracy on foreign soil today should not be reflected because party leaders play politics with when primaries should be held.
    Ed, all of the democratic candidates were on the ballot in Fl., as a matter of fact Senator Obama ran a tv commercial here in violation of the no campaign agreemant.
    The DNC had better find a way to resolve this mess & seat our delegates; revote if needed. Most of my dem friends will be voting Republican in November

    March 17, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  13. Dennis

    The national party failed to see early primaries for what they were, a political move to gain advantage by the Republican Party. If the Democratic Party had done the same thing I would be cheering their brilliance. As it is, I am disappointed in the poor handling of this situation.

    When Republican legislatures in Florida and Michigan moved up the primary date, they did so in knowledge of the rules effecting the Republican and Democratic parties. In close races the Democratic rules hamper a candidate gaining enough delegates to win before the convention more than the Republican ones do. This gave the Republicans an advantage and they used it effectively.

    Since that vote the national party failed to effectively resolve the problem either by paying for the early elections or by suspending their rules about when primaries could be held. They could have said the primary system needs a revamping and suspended the rule and that would have been the best result. Instead they blamed the state parties and fueled the flames that had the candidates blaming each other. Voting not to seat these delegations only compounds this problem. I hear alot about the nomination being "stolen" this year. If these delegations are not seated, the nomination may indeed be stolen, not from Senator Obama, but from Senator Clinton.

    Florida has the best case for being seated. Everyone was on the ballot and no one campaigned in the state. It was a level playing field and a clear winner exists. I say seat the Florida delegation as it stands.

    In Michigan Senator Clinton was the only candidate on the ballot. No other candidates, including the one I support, appeared on the ballot. This was stupid campaigning on the part of the other candidates. They had to know there would some effort to seat of decline delegates and their votes would give them a voice. As it is, only Senator Clinton any standing in the argument. I could see a revote there, but think we should just seat the delegates as they stand.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  14. John

    Let me add another perspective, Jason. You have a record turnout of 1.7 million democrats that voted in a fair and legal contest that was on an even playing field in Florida. Yet the DNC says our vote doesn't count because the Republican State Legislature and Republican Governor slipped into a widely popular vote reform bill, a provision to move up the primary to one week before the DNC said it could be held. One week! Does that punishment fit the crime? The best that the DNC could come up with was to punish the voters themselves for something totally out of their control? They couldn't fine the state party or something? So now, as in 2000, the Republican leaders of our state are seeing to it that our choice doesn't count. Only, in 2000 we knew it was the Republican's fault. This time is different. It's the insensitivity to voters and total lack of judgement of the DNC in meting out this death sentence to the voters who did nothing but vote their preference when told to. When you are deciding whether or not to seat Florida's delegates, just remember it is the voters being punished not the state party. In summary, if the DNC doesn't want my vote now, they won't get it in November either.

    March 17, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  15. M. Kelly

    Regardless of rule breaking, deadlines, etc. Isn't it amazing how we have individuals in our country who should be able to vote in their primaries but simply can't due to a handful of 'lawmakers' who were elected by these very same individuals . . . welcome to America?

    March 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  16. Adeba Obeh

    Clinton forget this florida re-vote. obama is already too ahead and no looking back. The superdelegates are not stupid and they already saw the popular votes and they will not change the peoples choice. Chikena

    March 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  17. Anthony Obeh

    I am really disappointed in the Clintons. They are not telling Americans the truth. Only they just want power or probably money.Lastly, please clinton, forget this " I am more experience than Obama. The Americans are just tired of people like you. You mean President Bush have no experience? and look what is happening to America with his policies. Oh, please(Bitte, in German) tell us another thing

    March 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  18. Ed Marx

    Seating delegates from MIchigan and Florida under the present circumstances is TOTALY wrong. When the DNC set the rules everyone knew what they were. Hiilary Clinton and Barack Obama both agreed not to campaign in those states. In fact Obama did not even register to be placed on their tickets. Hillary chose to ignore her agreemant, sensing the potential for a coup there. So, it is no wonder that she came away with "wins" in these two states. It was not a fair contest, with Obama abiding by the rules and his agreement, while Hillary chose to break her agreement and snub her nose at the DNC rules. I can't help believe that as president she will not snub her nose at all of us and do what she pleases.
    It is strange that this is not discussed publically on the news or by the Democratic party, or by Senator Obama's supporters. I think that this needs to be brought out and discussed to show the duplicity of Clinton. Does she carry a special "get out of jail free" card that allows her to get away with her double-crossing tactics?

    March 17, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  19. rs

    Wouldn't Senator Obama have been something different if he had won what the Obama mouthpiece, the mainstream media, is calling a "beauty contest". The main stream media keeps repeating the fact Senator Obama didn't campaign there. They conveniently forget Senator didnt campaign there as well.
    Was the vote in Florida a perfect situation? Nobody can argue it was. However, given the situation we are in there are only two choices, count the vote, however imperfect, or disenfranchise Floridians and lose Florida in the general.
    What other fair way is the Obama campaign talking about; maybe allocate delegates based on his victory in the Mississippi primaries or the Idaho Caucus.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  20. Goodheart

    I can't believe your stance on this. It's because of Democrats like you that the election will be lost in November. Ironically, it will probably be lost in Florida. Florida seems to decide everything whether it's President elections or DNC nominations.
    Obama and his minister will be played over and over again in November and Obama will lose the white male vote that he's getting now and lose the election. At that time, please remember how you were a superdelegate for Obama. Go Hillary!

    March 17, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  21. Kay Kay

    So people are tired of NH and Iowa having the say? The primaries were MONTHS ago and we still don't have a winner. The irony of it is that if Michigan and Florida had held their place, they could have had the power they tried to get through breaking the rules. I think "tough cookies" is how my mom used to put it.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  22. JT

    I do not not think that the voters decided the rules.

    I agree, the rule is the rule BUT bad rule must be change.

    Ignoring millions of voters is a bad rule.

    Do a re vote.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  23. Shermone

    And this is a point only because Senator Clinton is whining!! Florida and Michigan should not be allowed to seat their delegates. I also think that all of this is happening to bring this process to the attention of the average voter...and if it's not working let's work together and rewrite the rules, but not now just because Hillary is whining. I mean think about it people if she had not opened her mind the states would have taken their punishment and moved on!!!

    March 17, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  24. Brenda P.

    I think that every one needs to stop for a minute. I want you to think how you would feel if you were stripped of your right to have your voice heard.
    When we take a situation that agrees with our own agenda, then we tend to take a light look at the facts. Now when it actually impacts us personally, then we take a more measured approach to how we will be impacted, and what needs to be done so we are treated fairly. I would be outraged if my vote was taken away from me for some rule I had no control over. Also a decision made by politicians in my state that I had no control over.
    I was an Obama supporter when the Jan. primaries were held. I still wanted those votes to count. So did Obama he said that he thought the Delegates should be seated. Then he lost the primary and he changed his mind...so did I .. about Obama though.
    Remember people if it can happen to "the other guy" it can happen to you. Who will stand up for you if you don't stand up for the other guy. Pretty soon you stand alone.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  25. Mike in Florida

    As a life long democrat, I agree, no re-vote should be done in Florida. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's name was on the ballot here. In Michigan, Obama's name was not on the ballot, so that state should redo it's election. Four states changed their primary dates, but only two states were penalized by the DNC.

    The DNC leadership seems to forget the party is made up of democratic voters. Those supporters voice's and delegates have the right to be honored. Not be disenfranchised by some silly rule book the DNC wishes to conveniently invoke.

    I'll lay it out there for you Jason: If Florida's delegation is not seated in Denver. Then my families vote, and a lot of other democratic Floridians, will be not voting to seat a democrat in November in the White House. It's that simple!

    One final note, the DNC can stop sending me weekly emails begging for a donations. I have stop all funds until this matter is resolved.

    March 17, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  26. Illinois

    Why is anyone listening to this kid?? He's what....like 12 years old?? He only became a superdelegate by luck. What actual time does he have in any office anyway?? He's just trying to make a name for himself.

    The voters in those two states should NOT be penalized for a stupid and power-tripping decision made by republican leaders and Howard Dean. FIRE Howard Dean.....he misuses his power and authority. And do not vote for your respective republican leaders who made the awful decision to move up the dates for their primaries.....they should lose their jobs, too. Same for MI.

    Get rid of the delegate system as well as the electoral college entirely. They are dinosaurs and are no longer needed. Go with the popular vote to determine the winner and be done with it. The only people who don't want to let go of an old system that no longer works are the ones who are addicted to the power the old system holds.

    March 17, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  27. Chuck in Alabama

    Don'tchathink maybe, you should have said that this young man has already come out in support of Obama? Certainly makes his un-American comments make more sense.

    March 17, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  28. Brenda P.

    I think this is a poor choice. We are going to lose the Dems. in Florida to Mccain come Nov. Say good bye to the Democratic party in Florida.
    I think that the media has done a poor job covering the candidates to begin with, and we were not given an adequate look at both candidates. I know alot of people that would have voted different if the media had vetted Obama in the first place. But MSNBC has decided that they are going to decide the Democratic nominee not New Hampshire and Iowa. So I guess they too thought it was time to change the landscape of how America chooses the President not just Michigan and Florida!!
    I will change to Independent as will my husband (who is a Vietnam Vet. and Dem. since 1974) if MSNBC, Obama and a bunch of "Johnny come lately's" to the Democratic party mess up our party, that we have been devoted to for decades. You better hope that these people that are new to the party and cross overs (repubs.) messing in our party decide they like it enough to stay, and not just until some other unvetted politician new to the scene comes along say... a Repub. as they have no strong ties to the party just a candidate!! This is a sad day when Democracy has possibly lost in 2 states in the good ole U.S.A. Are you watching Iraq... this is democracy at work!!! The irony is everyone was on the ballot in Mich. Obama took his name off!! That is what I would call a rookie mistake. He has shown the people of Mich. that their voice is unimportant to him. Then people paint Hillary as the bad guy because she left her name on!!! Obama called the Florida vote in Jan. a beauty contest!!! Pathetic just pathetic!!! Well DNC you are looking silly, unorganized and ill equipped to put a candidate in the White House when all you had to do to win this time, was present a candidate in November!!!

    March 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm |
  29. Mino AZ

    Jason,
    I totally agree with Mischelle/ Illinois. The states of New Hampshire and Iowa should not be allowed to make decisions for the whole country. Enough, enough. We should hold a national primary. Get rid of the caucuses and the old "two step" voting.

    LET THE VOTES COUNT FOR MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA !!!!!!

    HILLARY '08 !!!

    March 17, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  30. paul olmstead

    I am not sure about Michigan but I am pretty sure Florida should not count at all. The reason being is that they have a history of screwing up elections and rules are put in place to follow not to break. What would happen if they decide in the general election not to vote until Nov. 3rd or 4 th? Would we let those count? If people would follow the rules in the first place we would not be having any discussion about this and I think it is a bad situation when we allow people to break rules. It sets a bad example for all.

    March 17, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  31. Margaret NJ

    What is wrong with everyone?!
    It is unfortuante that their votes don't count but they broke the rules. The people from Florida and MIchigan who followed the rules did not vote because they know it would not count, so counting the illegal votes is a disservice to them. If revoting is permitted, then offer it to every state as they may have changed their minds since their primaries (many in NJ wish they had voted to Obama when they see that he is more likely to beat McCain). Interesting how the Clinton supporters are the ones who don't follw the rules and then want special allowances. Let's not forget that the candidates signed a statement of understanding and adherance to the rule that invalidated those delegates.

    March 17, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  32. Bonobo

    Folk in FL and MI who are followers of the political process should have known what was happening, for there was considerabe coverage in the press, at least in FL.

    My outraage is not with the DNC, it is with the FDP; even after being offered a compromise to move the date back to 'Super Tuesday', they still rejected the offer. The mess in FL is all the result of some party big-wigs thinking moving the date would give their 'candidate of choice' an unsurmountable lead, but it back-fired.

    The irony of this is, these are the very folk who have been selected to make rules, yet they refuse to live by rules.

    For those that say they have been cheated the ability to influence the selection of the presidential candidate (which you haven't, since you still can vote in Nov.), I say now is the time to bombard the lawmakers to make changes to the rules that will be satisfactory to the majority; for we know that whatever is done, it is not going to satisfy everyone.

    You have four years from now to accomplish this... This cycle is over!

    March 17, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  33. Maggie

    Rae is absolutely right about not changing the rules midstream. I beleive it is also wrong to allow a re-vote. They broke the rules – it should not count PERIOD. If they get to revote, then we should allow a revote for every state since many people in many states may have changed their minds since the earlier primaries.

    March 17, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  34. Maria

    I'm not completely familiar w/ all of the DNC rules, but what I do know is that usually only a few early states decide the nominee... usually the same few states... So I think those two states had every right to have their primaries earlier. It's not fair that some states rarely get a say and it's ok to stand up against that. Maybe if the DNC rules were more reasonable, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. I'm all for a re-vote or whatever, but maybe split the bill or something. DNC is partially responsible.

    March 17, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  35. Suzette

    I feel that since Florida is not having a re-vote, seating the delegates equally is the only way there can be any representation at the DNC. Wrt Michigan, they are entertaining another primary. I'm okay with these solutions, but I think it is a very immature viewpoint to blame the candidates or Howard Dean for this. If I were a voter in either Michigan or Florida, I'd think twice before re-electing these officials who would so haphazardly and whimsically mishandle my right to vote. They are the ones whom the voters should be pressing on this issue. They broke the rules knowing full well the consequences to the people whom they SERVE...I repeat SERVE. It was a misuse of authority and they need to be held accountable by the DNC AND the voters.

    March 17, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
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